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Michael Powell Award Commendation Best British Film
Official Selection: Rotterdam*Jerusalem* — Sofia — Buenos Aires
Alfred Dunhill UK Film Talent Award
Producer Gayle Griffiths — London IFF
It’s a cinematic milestone… it has a challenging, unashamedly intellectual rigour to it. There’s a beguiling central performance from Natalie Press. Song of Songs confirms her as a star. Appignanesi writes and directs with impressive intelligence, explaining little but building tension and layers of extreme emotion using microscopically intense, handheld camera…In both style and content, the film reveals a distinctive and bold new voice in British cinema.
Jason Solomons, THE OBSERVER*
Terrific performance from Press… you can’t take your eyes off her face. [She] is a fascinating creation. There’s something uncomfortably compelling about this tale of murky, deviant flipside of religious ecstasy. A daringly original debut.
Wendy Ide, THE TIMES
Appignanesi’s intelligent low-budget feature debut… Press is compelling. The film modulates into a kosher version of Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles… assembled with considerable psychological authority.
Philip French, THE OBSERVER
Sparkling with originality… an unashamedly austere and powerful film about religion, repression and sex. Press confirms herself as a startling actress. There’s no resisting the power of the film’s emotional flow.
An imposing first feature… a collision between Pinter and the Pentateuch. Appignanesi gives many scenes an undeniable if enigmatic intensity… Press acts with utter conviction.
Not exactly Almodovar, or even Kieslowski, or even Bergman… the core of this drama is raw and compelling. Press and Chalfen work with a will, she a face tugged and knotted into self-abnegation as surely as her scraped-back hair, he a face halfway between angelic and satanic.
Appignanesi… has creatively and intelligently responded to European directors like the Dardennes Bros and Michael Haneke… it is a powerful and confident work and shows that Appignanesi is seriously committed to cultivating a real cinematic language.
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
Ambitious and mysterious… The film offers some powerful scenes, and strong performances from Press and Chalfen… Appignanesi is a talent to watch.
Dave Calhoun, TIME OUT
Boasts superb playing from Press and Chalfen. It is framed edited and scored with a precision and condfidence belying its limited resources, and the script is brimming with provocative ideas… Appignanesi is clearly a talent to watch… Press confirms [her] considerable promise.
Michael Brooke, SIGHT & SOUND
A brave debut… Persuasive playing from [Press] and Chalfen… the atmosphere is suitably claustrophobic.
Credible performances and uncompromising hand-held photography… a tough, intimate and intense portrayal of incest and apostatism in Jewish north London.
Steve O’Hagan, EMPIRE
L’oeuvre ne cesse d’intriguer par son atmosphère irréelle et maléfique.
(The film is ceaselessly intriguing, with its dreamlike and maleficent atmosphere)
Agnès Poirier, LIBÉRATION
Powerful performance by increasingly estimable Natalie Press.
Leslie Felperin, VARIETY
The film works like one continuous prayer that challenges the viewer, that does not make philosophy only through dialogue, but through its image composition. Songs of Songs is very much a film with its own powerful vision.
Uniformly excellent performances, with both Press and Chalfen utterly convincing. [She is] a precocious talent with impressive range. A challenging, powerful and thought-provoking piece of cinema with some haunting images.
This haunting, beautifully shot piece… The sense of isolation and repression both actors expertly portray is fostered by claustrophobic over-the-shoulder camera shots and a near silent soundtrack… The boldness and promise that Appignanesi has revealed so early on in his career.
Isla Leaver-Yap, FEST